Introduction: Drawing a Multiview Print (basic Drafting)

About: Hi, I'm stephen, I'm a certified welder, working on my machinists cert, and working part time at a hardware store. Mixing in all of that with my hobbies of blacksmithing and knifemaking, only makes for more f…

This first bit here is sort of an explanation for the layman, the underlying theory so to speak. If you just wanna look at some drawings, skip ahead.

What is a blueprint? Or any kind of drawing?
A drawing is a form of communication, whether you're drawing a horse to try and communicate its beauty to someone, or you're trying to communicate the design of a part to someone, or even yourself.
What’s my goal here? Now, I’m not a drafter, I don’t even have a drafting degree.  But, I’m an avid builder and maker, and would be lost if I couldn’t design my parts. I weld, I machine, I blacksmith, I do a lot of stuff.  And I need to be able to both design my projects, or parts for my tools, and I need to be able to show these designs to someone and them be able to understand it.                                                                      
            I see a lot of people, hobbyists and such, who need to draw up a piece they're working on, whether it's because they're asking for help in building it, or trying to get someone else to make it for them (i.e. getting something made at a machine shop you can't make at home), and they can’t clearly draw their design, thus hampering the build process. So I thought I'd share some of my experience in drawing and reading prints, to help other people share their own ideas more clearly.

My goal then, is not to teach you to draw a house, or give you the equivalent of any drafting classes, but it is to show you the basic  fundamentals of drawing a print.

Why multi view?
If you look at nearly any blue print of a part, you’ll see multiple views of it, this is especially common with any more complicated drawings. The reason being is that by adding different views of a part, you can see the hidden features to it, and connect the dots (as some would say) with the confusing pieces.
Look at some the following pictures and their notes; I’ll try to demonstrate what I mean.

Step 1: Understanding the Views

You have a total of 6 views you can put in a standard drawing*; Top, bottom, front, back, R side, and L side.

Imagine a cube, 6 equal sides unfolded in the pattern you see in pic 1. When you’re trying to draw a part, you draw each view as it’s seen from the position in the cube in 2d.

Take a look at the second picture, it should explain all of that somewhat.

Now, as you’ll notice, most of the drawings in the different views of picture #2 are redundant... Useless. That’s why you’ll typically see a multi view print with 2 or 3 views instead of all 6. When you’re drawing a print, you need only draw the views that show needed details. The most common views being Front, Top, and one of the two sides. 

*Please note I said standard... I’m not getting into the other stuff right now.

Step 2: Lines

Now, there are different lines you need to know about, in fact, there's quite a good many if you want to get into them, but for now we'll stick with the common ones.
#1 – Object line.
The object line is a nice thick, solid line. This line represents any seen line of an object. For example, if you’re drawing a box with a hole in the back, that you can’t see, you use the object line to draw the box. But not the hole you can’t see.

#2 – Hidden line.
The hidden line is made up of dashed lines, equally sized, and equally spaced. It represents (as the name suggests) hidden parts on a print. For example, in the previously cited box with an unseen hole, you don’t draw the box with the hidden lines, but you do draw the hole. This shows the position of the hole, and the fact that it isn’t visible from the view.

#3 – Center line.
The center line is made up of equally spaced, alternating long and short dashes. And, once again, it conveniently means just what it sounds like. You use this line to show the center of holes, objects, etc... 

#4 – Construction lines.
I don’t have these on the diagram, because they look just like an object line. But construction lines are any line you draw to aid in the drawing of the part; connecting lines to lines in different views, boxing the corner around an angle so you know where to place it... etc.   I usually draw these lightly, that way they erase easily, because you want to erase them from the final print, so as not to get them confused with object lines.

Step 3: Drawing Tools

So what tools do you need to draw a proper print?  Well, AutoCAD is nice....
But we don’t all have that (though I am considering doing an “ible” like this one but geared for Acad, lemme know if your interested)....

So instead, you need the high dollar and expensive drawing tools listed below...
1. Pencil (I recommend a good thin lead mechanical pencil. I don’t draw with anything except my .05 lead if I can help it).
2. Eraser. Preferably one that erases cleanly.
3. Ruler. A good metal one is best. With clear easy to read markings.
4. Compass. Best thing for drawing circles. Handy dandy little guys. I’ve got a nice set my Dad gave to me, but you can get perfectly functional ones for a few bucks.
5. Paper. Get yourself a nice pad of engineer’s paper. It’s gridded on the backside, so that when it’s on the pad you can see the squares easily, handy for drawing. But when peeled off, the pad the grid is faint and doesn’t obstruct the print.
6. Some radius gages would be nice, but you can get by without them.

Step 4: Let's Draw!

It's easiest to start with an existing part, instead of trying to design one in your head and put it on paper. So that's what we'll do for now.
I’ve got a piece of 1 ¼” dowel, cut 1 ¾” long, with a 45 degree angle.
First step is to decide what sides are what views. I always make the side that shows the most of the profile and detail the front. So we’ll go with the long side as the front. Then either side could be used, as it will only look like a circle no matter which side we choose, so I use the right side; it’s more common. Then, because we’ve got the side and the front labeled, we just decide to use the top, if we used the bottom it’d look the same but with a hidden line.  You can see I’ve labeled the views with a sharpie.

Then I always start by drawing the front view first, because it show the most detail, it’s typically the most difficult and can be used to help in drawing the rest.
For something this simple, I just take the measurements, draw the bottom line, left side line, top line, then just connect them to get my 45 degree angle.
Continue on for the next view, right side.

Step 5: Right Side

Now something to remember, is when your drawing the extra views, always always keep the views in line with one another, and keep them equal distances apart. This is most common mistake I see.  If they’re all in line with one another, you can use your ruler to line up each line with one in another view, if done right they should all meet up nicely. And you keep all the views the same distance apart for the same reason. When they’re like that you can use the miter angle to check the lines in the top and side views (I’ll explain later).

Now I decided to put each view 1” apart. But for this one, the right side is a circle… where does that 1” stop it at? Draw a box around the circle, touching its sides. The left edge is where you want the 1” to stop.  Then draw to lines halfway through the box to find the center. Set your compass for the radius of the circle, and draw it out. 
See those lines I used for the center and box? Those are just lines I used to assist me in drawing. Those are construction lines. Draw them lightly so you can erase them later.

And there you have a right side view.

Step 6: Top It Off!

Now the top view is kind of useless in this print, but I’m including it for the purposes of this instructable. If I was drawing this for real, it wouldn’t be included.  As you can see I draw light construction lines from my front view to designate their position in the top view.  This is why you keep your views in line.

Now we just erase the construction lines and add dimensions.  When you add dimensions, make sure you stand the dimension leader lines off of the part, give them a bit of a gap, that way they show what they’re pointing to, but don’t get in the way.

Step 7: The Miter Angle.

Now I mentioned the miter angle earlier, and promised to explain it. Here we go.
You use the miter angle to correspond lines between the top and side views, just like you do between the front and top/side views.

First draw a 45 degree line from the right corner of the front view. No corner? Just extend out the lines to make a corner. Just like when we drew the box around the circle. 

Now that we have the 45 degree line, this is your miter angle. Any line you extend up or out to it from the top or side view, should correspond perfectly with the same line in the other view.  Look at the diagram for a better explanation.

Step 8: There We Are.

There you go, a beautiful three view print. Go forth and draw!

I’m working on detailing another slightly more complicated drawing. I’ll add it later as time allows. 

Let me know what you think, ridicule my methods, I don’t care.

Got any prints you want to share? Let me know and I’ll add them to this last step. Nothing specific, just so that people can see different multi-view prints.